If you've seen the Sun-Sentinel video of Beverly Gallagher's exit from the courthouse, you'll not soon forget the big boy in the middle of it.
The video starts with Gallagher and daughters Annie and Meghan running for the parking garage stairs as a gaggle of reporters and cameras follows. As they get to the stairs, you can hear Beverly or one of her daughters repeating, like a hyperventilating Rainman, "Up the stairs, up the stairs, up the stairs, up the stairs, up the stairs."
But then the man accompanying them (at far left in the photo) takes control. In a heroic attempt to keep the media from getting their shot of Gallagher, the man -- who is fairly large in stature and wearing spectacles and a blue shirt -- physically blocks the stairwell, holding the reporters back. One of the media people yells, "You're not allowed to touch us, and we're not allowed to touch you!"
But the jostling continues -- with some of the reporters calling for police -- until one TV guy with a sizable camera sort of falls down the stairs. That's when WPLG-Channel 10's Michael Putney came to the fore.
"That's assault," says Putney, who then puts his microphone in the man's face. "Why are you assaulting people for?"
"I'm trying to stand here and find my
glasses," says the mystery man. "I don't know what you people are doing."
"We are trying to follow a defendant up the stairs and ask questions," Putney answers the man.
"I don't know what the fuck you're talking about," the man tells Putney. "I'm innocent, walking by, and people are attacking me."
"Are you her husband?" Putney asked him.
"No, that's her son," says someone else.
Well, actually it was neither. The man was Phil Kaufold, a project manager in the construction department at the Broward County School Board. He's also the boyfriend of Gallagher's daughter Meghan, who recently had a baby girl with Kaufold. Meghan, you might recall, was given a plum job as a School Board project manager as soon as she graduated college. Of course, Beverly Gallagher, the elected School Board member, had nothing to do with her daughter's hire at all.
After all, that would be wrong, right?
Now here's the kicker: Sources inside the district's construction department tell me that Kaufold has had similar flare-ups while on the job at the School Board. They say he once got into a physical dustup with John DiPompeo, president of School Board contractor DiPompeo Construction of Pompano Beach. Says one School Board employee, "Yeah, he has some anger-management issues."